We can use superlative adverbs to make comparisons:

His ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt worst.
It rains most often at the beginning of the year.

Intensifiers:

When we intensify a superlative adverb we often use the in front of the adverb, and we use these words and phrases as intensifiers:

easily - much - far - by far

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

"Disaster struck when we least expected it"

Why using past tense in this sentence when it is always true?

regards

Hello chancornelius,

It's difficult to say for certain without knowing the context of this sentence, but I imagine the writer of this sentence is talking about a specific past time. Even if something is always true, it can also be true at a specific time in the past. Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

You write: "When we intensify a superlative adverb we often use "the" in front of the adverb..."
Now is this grammatically correct?
It rains by far the most often at the beginning of the year.

Maybe it is... but it just sounds a bit strange to me.

Hello Ondra K,

The operative word here is 'often'! The reason we say 'often' is that conventions of use mean that some sentences feel awkward with 'the' included. There is nothing grammatically wrong with your example but it does sound odd because the convention of use is to not use 'the' in this particular example. This is actually a good demonstration of the fact that simply learning rules is not sufficient to develop fluent natural English - it is necessary to be exposed to real language in order to pick up these subtleties of use.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello ELT
can I say : his ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt by far the worst/ ... far the worst/...easily the worst.
if no than how are the intensifiers used in this sentence.

regards

Hello Ambitious learner,

That sentence would make sense in the context of speaking about the various pains someone feels. Another possibility would be something like 'His ankles hurt badly (or 'a lot'), but his knees hurt the most (or 'much worse').' There are lots of possibilities. 'by far the worst' is usually used when speaking about a range of different things when one stands out as the most intense.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

sir,
in sentence "Going by train is much the best option."
'best' seems to be an adjective rather than adverb as it describes the noun 'option'. Please explain
Thanks

Hello munish,

Yes, 'best' is a superlative adjective here – if you check the dictionary, you'll see this is the first entry there. Please check the dictionary when you have questions like this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi

can you explane NO. 3 please.

Hello Ruba Issawi,

It might be easier to first consider the sentence without the adverb of degree: "Going by train is the best option..." This is a simple statement that one mode of transport is the best of all the available modes of transport. When much is inserted, the sentence essentially means the same thing, but with the idea that none of the other options are nearly as good as the option of going by train.

Does that help?

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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